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Issue Home February 14, 2006 Site Home

100 Years Ago
Along the Way...With P. Jay

From the Desk of the D.A.
The Healthy Geezer
Straight From Starrucca

100 Years Ago

SUSQUEHANNA: Sam Townsend, the popular bus driver from this place to Lanesboro D & H station, gives it as a matter of congratulation that D & H trains Nos. 1 and 3 were yesterday on time and he thinks it fit for publication.

GIBSON: Sleighing is the order of the day. The snow measured, Friday, Feb. 9, twenty-two inches on level.

HARFORD: Thursday evening, February 8th, being the 21st birthday of Earl Whiting, his mother thought to give him a surprise. A few of his friends met at his home. Games were played after which refreshments were served. Those present were: Misses Olive Usher, Daisy Tiffany, Helen Wilmarth, Edith Corse, Jessie Robbins, Messers Burt Brown, Ray Tingley, Carl Robbins, Chas Labar, Hollie Lewis, Geo. Labar, Floyd Tiffany, Mearl Ellsworth, Harry Shannon, Fanton Sherwood. AND: There are six in the graduating class at the High School this year.

SPRINGVILLE: The ladies are planning to serve one of their famous dinners at the church, election day, Feb. 20. What the ladies have done along this line in the past is a sure guarantee there will be abundance of everything to tempt the palates of hungry people on this occasion.

ARARAT: Old Mrs. Sartelle is very ill. She is 86 years old and her recovery is doubtful. She has never recovered from the shock she sustained on the night of the robbery at Eli Avery’s, as she is the old lady whose room they entered, not satisfied with the money from the safe, they ransacked her room for plunder. (In the case of the Commonwealth vs. LeRoy Ballard, charged with entering Eli Avery’s house at Ararat, the jury returned a verdict of “not guilty.”)

THOMPSON: Fred Empet, the tax collector and constable, has an unusual record. He has served 18 years in that capacity. AND: Emerson Stone is engaged this winter in erecting a fine dwelling house upon the property recently purchased by him near the Thompson Grange Hall.

DIMOCK: A. C. Mills can now be seen daily working in his shop repairing wagons, sleighs, cutters and all farming tools.

HEART LAKE: Our school opened again Monday after a 10 weeks’ vacation, on account of the sickness and death of the teacher’s grandmother.

MONTROSE: What might have been a very serious fire broke out at 6 o’clock Monday night in the room over Hollister’s pool room, in Geo. Lyons’ bindery, it catching, it is said, from a defective flue. An alarm was given and the firemen and citizens were quickly on hand. The fire quickly spread to the upper part of the building occupied by B.L. Billings’ furniture store and for a half hour it looked as though a very disastrous fire was certain in these wooden buildings. But the firemen did such good work that it was soon gotten under control. The building was damaged some, but the goods and fixtures in Billings’ store and in Hollister’s place were damaged even more by water. Mr. Billings informs us the damage in the casket room alone was nearly $1000. He immediately put in a new supply after the fire. Someone carried off the book-binders sewing bench. Upon information as to where the bench is, Mr. Lyons will gladly call for it. The total losses are not known at this time, but they are covered by insurance.

FOREST CITY: The Forest City News reports, “A staff of the law was telling our fighting editor that the next “for the good-of-the-order raid” would be slot-machines in the different towns. “The lid is to be put on in this county” he added, “with several hot-house surprises on the side.”

FAIRDALE: Mr. and Mrs. H. B. Downer, of Binghamton, have been visiting Fairdale friends. Mr. Downer has recently purchased the well known hay market at Washington and Water streets, Binghamton and his son, Claude, of Fairdale, will also go there, having leased the farm at Fairdale.

FRIENDSVILLE: The St. Francis Xavier’s dramatic and literary association will, on the night of the 21st inst., produce the popular drama, “The Commercial Traveler.” On the same night the Fair held during the Christmas holidays will be continued. Many valuable articles will be chanced off. A dance will follow. Good music in attendance. A supper will be given by the ladies of the parish, for the benefit of the new church.

JACKSON: Jackson is a “dry” town, the license for the old “Geary House” being refused by the court.

SOUTH GIBSON: Oscar Belcher started for his home in Oregon. He took with him for companion Willie Davis, who has lived in the Belcher home for several years. Mr. Belcher is a good citizen and his many friends wish he might remain here, but wish him success in his adopted home in the far West.

LAWSVILLE: Charlie Turrell and family started, Feb. 13th, for St. John’s, Oregon, where they expect to make their home in the future. AND: Miss Florence Bailey has returned from Montrose where she has been learning dress making.

HALLSTEAD: The body of Mrs. Margaret Stack, who died at the residence of her daughter, Mrs. John Finnerty, of Scranton, on Friday, was brought to the home of her son, Conductor Morris Stack, on Sunday morning on Train 27. Deceased met a very tragic death by falling off the back stoop at the home of her daughter, where she was visiting, breaking her neck. Death was instantaneous. She was about 80 years of age and is survived by the following children: Morris, Edward and Richard, Mrs. T. J. Connors and Mrs. John Finnerty. The funeral services were held on Monday morning at 10 from St. Lawrence’s church.

NEWS BRIEF: It is too bad the way some doctors take advantage of sickness to run up a large bill. Doctors have been charging $100 for an operation for appendicitis. According to the best authorities this operation is very simple and almost any doctor can do it. The price demanded for the operation is too much.


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Along the Way...With P. Jay

Searching for the "write" words

Every so often I run into a lull in my efforts to bring you this weekly column. When this happens, I go hunting for something that might be of interest to you.

For example, in Yahoo Search, I typed in “Susquehanna County” and I was taken to a site that read, “Susquehanna County Chamber of Commerce.” When I clicked on it, I got ads for College Misericordia, Burkavage Design Associates, Pocono Raceway, Scranton Chamber of Commerce, The Woodlands Inn and Resort, and Wise Snacks, none of which are located in Susquehanna County.

Underneath the words Susquehanna County Chamber of Commerce was the link,, and so I copied and pasted it in the search bar and I was taken to a site that had a row of sites presumably that could be clicked on to gain some information about the county.

The first line read, “About Us” and I clicked on it. I got an immediate response. It read, “This page cannot be found.”

The next line read, “Historic Sites” and I clicked on it. Again I got an immediate response. This time it read, “This page cannot be displayed.” These words were found in the following “sites”: Art Galleries, State & Town Parks, Recreation Areas, Hotels and Lodging.

Next, I went to Google and typed in Susquehanna County. I got a quick reply and under the county name I found these words: “Includes information on government and community services, attractions, education and economic development.” Now this is more like it I said out loud. (When you live alone, you can talk to yourself and even answer yourself without fear of repercussion.)

I was taken to a beautiful site that included a picture of Salt Springs Park and a bunch of headings and subheads all under Economic Development. It was chock full of information including 101 things to do in the county. I was impressed.

Next I clicked on the subhead, Government. And I was immediately taken to another site that read: “The County Commissioners would like to welcome you to the Susquehanna County Courthouse Website. On these pages you will find information on all of the county offices and the services that they provide. We hope you find your visit to our site both informative and enjoyable.”

Wow! Isn't this great I said. Then I read the last item and it read: “For Susquehanna County 2004 Primary Election results, click here!”

“It’s 2006,” I yelled, mumbling a few expletives along with it.

The next in line was Law Enforcement. I clicked on it and found the message, “Coming Soon.” (Probably when we get statehood I mumbled to myself.)

Under the heading “County Newswire,” I found listings of daily and weekly newspapers but I was disappointed not to find WPEL Radio listed. Been around since 1953 and has a tremendous following.

I did find the following message at the bottom of the Newswire page:

Meetings – “The Susquehanna County Economic Development Board holds its regular meeting at 1:30 p.m. on the fourth Thursday of each month from January through October, 2003. Monthly meetings for November and December are on the third Thursday of the month.” I let out a loud, Grrrrrrrrrrr!

I found the words “Coming Soon” under some other listings, including Voter Registration, Jury Commissioners, Historical Records and Recorder of Deeds. I also found Jennifer Pisasik still listed as chief assessor.

Ah, but not to be discouraged I continued to look and found some really nice pages on tourism, some nice scenic pictures of our county and some great links to other county offices. When I had the column just about finished, I wondered – yes, again out loud – why the county cannot settle for one site and put in all the search engines?


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From the Desk of the D.A.

Suppression issues often dominate the landscape of pretrial maneuvering in criminal cases – especially in motor vehicle cases where there is the contention that the police lacked sufficient basis to conduct the initial traffic stop that led to the discovery of more serious violations. Recently, the Pennsylvania Superior Court had the opportunity to address two such cases – and there were two different results.

In Commonwealth v. Conrad, the defendant and his wife had a domestic dispute, and, as a result, the wife contacted the police. The wife indicated that the defendant had been consuming alcohol, had threatened to commit suicide, and left in an automobile that had no registration or inspection. Within an hour of receiving the wife’s report, the police spotted the defendant’s vehicle in close proximity to his home. The police did not personally observe any traffic violations, but did conduct a traffic stop. The defendant was then arrested for DUI and several summary traffic violations relating to the lack of a valid registration. The Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County granted a suppression motion, and noted that the police had no independent basis to conduct the traffic stop, i.e.: the police did not observe any violation of the Vehicle Code.

On appeal, the Pennsylvania Superior Court reversed, and found that the police had a sufficient reasonable suspicion of criminal activity to warrant a traffic stop. In considering totality of the information provided by the wife, the court stated: The police “could have formed the reasonable suspicion that the operator of the vehicle was in a state of extreme emotional agitation and was driving after having been drinking. These facts would support a reasonable suspicion that criminal activity was afoot, in that [the defendant] was incapable of safe driving in violation of the statutory prohibition against drunk driving.”

In Commonwealth v. Hernandez, a different panel of the Pennsylvania Superior Court considered a similar factual scenario. In that case, the police had received information from a manager at a local Yellow Freight company that the defendant had arrived to pick up 20 boxes that had been delivered to the Yellow Freight facility, but the defendant did not realize that the packages were COD, and the defendant went outside and returned with over $2,000 in cash to pay for the charge on delivery of the packages. The boxes were loaded onto the defendant’s U-Haul truck, but because the driver was acting nervous and had a large amount of cash upon him, the manager of the facility was suspicious and opened one of the boxes while the driver was not looking. The manager indicated that the box was filled with what the caller believed to be marijuana. Based upon this information, the police conducted a traffic stop of the U-Haul truck. In the course of the traffic stop, the police looked in the cargo area of the U-Haul, and spotted the open box the caller had identified, and the police could see that there was marijuana in the box. The police also used a K-9 drug dog around the exterior of the vehicle, and the dog gave a positive response for the presence of controlled substances. Prior to obtaining a search warrant, the police also verified that the defendant had recently flown into Philadelphia airport, that he had paid cash for his plane ticket, his hotel room in Philadelphia, and for the U-Haul itself. Based upon all of this information, the police then received a search warrant in order to search the remaining boxes, and did in fact find approximately 400 pounds of marijuana in the back of the U-Haul truck. The defendant was convicted and sentenced to 5 years to 10 years of incarceration.

On appeal, the Pennsylvania Superior Court reversed the decision, and found that the police had conducted an unlawful search of the cargo area of the U-Haul truck. In particular, the court concluded that the police should have obtained a search warrant prior to entering the cargo area of the U-Haul truck. While the police did ultimately obtain a search warrant prior to finding the bulk of the 400 pounds of marijuana, the court also concluded that there was insufficient information to support the issuance of the search warrant. As a result, the Superior Court reversed the defendant’s conviction and ordered that the 400 pounds of marijuana be suppressed.

Curious result? The emotionally distraught, abusive and intoxicated defendant will face incarceration, while the drug dealer carrying large amounts of cash and 400 pounds of marijuana walks free. There are finer legal distinctions involved, but the cases demonstrate the difficulties that the police face in combating crime – and the seemingly contradictory results from a layperson’s perspective.

Please submit any questions, concerns, or comments to Susquehanna County District Attorney’s Office, P.O. Box 218, Montrose, Pennsylvania 18801.

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The Healthy Geezer

Q. Does coffee kill the benefits of vitamins?

Any beverage or food containing caffeine such as coffee, tea, chocolate and some sodas can inhibit the absorption of vitamins and minerals and increase their excretion from the body.

This raises a more important question: What are the benefits of vitamins?

It’s very important to talk with your doctor before you take any vitamin and mineral pills, especially if you take prescription medicines, have any health problems or are elderly. Taking too much of a vitamin or mineral can cause problems with some medical tests or interfere with drugs you’re taking.

Vitamins and minerals are “micronutrients” your body needs in small but steady amounts. Your body can't make most micronutrients, so you must get them elsewhere.

Vitamins are natural substances found in plants and animals. There are two types of vitamins: water-soluble and fat-soluble.

Water-soluble vitamins are easily absorbed by your body. Unlike fat-soluble vitamins, they don’t have to be absorbed using bile acids (fluids used to digest fats). Your body doesn’t store large amounts of water-soluble vitamins. The water-soluble vitamins you don’t need are removed by your kidneys and come out in your urine.

Your body has to use bile acids to absorb fat-soluble vitamins. Once these vitamins are absorbed, your body stores them in body fat. When you need them, your body takes them out of storage to be used.

Here are some water-soluble vitamins: Vitamin C, biotin and the seven B vitamins — thiamin (B-1), riboflavin (B-2), niacin (B-3), pantothenic acid (B-5), pyridoxine (B-6), folic acid (B-9) and cobalamin (B-12).

Here are some fat-soluble vitamins: A, D, E or K.

Minerals come from the earth or from water. Plants and animals absorb them to get nutrients. The “major minerals” are calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, sulfur and chloride. They are considered major minerals because adults need them in large amounts.

The “trace minerals” are chromium, copper, fluoride, iodine, iron, manganese, molybdenum, selenium and zinc. Your body needs them in smaller amounts.

It would be hard to “overdose” on vitamins or minerals that you get from the foods you eat. But if you take supplements, you can easily take too much. This is even more of a risk if you take fat-soluble vitamins.

Whole foods are your best sources of vitamins and minerals. They offer three main benefits over supplements. 1. They contain a variety of the micronutrients your body needs. An orange, for example, provides vitamin C but also beta carotene, calcium and other nutrients. A vitamin C supplement lacks these other micronutrients. 2. They provide dietary fiber, which is important for digestion and can help prevent certain diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Adequate fiber intake can also help prevent constipation. 3. They contain other substances such as antioxidants which slow down the natural process that leads to cell and tissue damage.

If you depend on supplements rather than eating a variety of whole foods, you miss the potential benefits of these substances.

For some people, including those on restrictive diets, multivitamin-mineral supplements can provide vitamins and minerals that their diets often don't. Older people and pregnant women have altered nutrient needs and may also benefit from a supplement.

If you have a question, please write to

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Straight From Starrucca

I’m sure you noticed the picture of the little cowboy in last week’s paper. That endearing little fellow is Danny Downton, who last weekend celebrated his sixteenth birthday with a sleepover made up of five of his buddies on the basketball team. On Saturday he guested about ten classmates at a pool party and on Sunday a family birthday party at the home of his parents, Vicki and Pete Downton.

Eleven senior citizens enjoyed a potluck dinner last Wednesday. A few showed some old valentines and we played a round of bingo. Next meeting will be March 8. The April fifth meeting we have engaged Mr. Anthony McLinko from the Wayne County Area Agency on Aging to speak to us about Medicare Part D. All are welcome.

Sunday guests of Clarence and Wally Smith were Carl and Virginia Upright. They played pinochle and Clarence regaled them with stories about growing up in Starrucca.

Gina Upright reported seeing a snowy owl in her backyard. This is a bit unusual, because their range is usually north of us. She had read in the paper that one was seen down the valley, also.

There is a new family that lives in the old Albert Brooker house on Jacob’s Hill. They are Ab and Susanne Lunesky and they have two young boys. Hope they enjoy their new abode.

There is quite a bit of concern of people walking at night, mostly priests who do not wear any kind of reflective clothing or carry a flashlight to alert drivers on the road of their presence. For their own safety and the peace of mind of the drivers, protect yourselves from harm.



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From the Editors of E/The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: I really enjoy the various Survivor TV series, but what is the environmental impact of such productions on their remote locales?

Rachel Maxwell, Port Washington, NY

When Survivor first aired in the summer of 2000, environmental groups cheered producers for choosing nature as the setting for such a high profile series. And by the time the series was only a year old, it was garnering green praise from all over, including from Australian environmental officials, who played host during the show’s second season.

Ian Sinclair of the Queensland Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Water, said in an interview at the time, “The impacts were pretty minimal. All rubbish was removed. No vegetation was destroyed. The tracks and the bare area that were reseeded are probably the only visible signs of impact.” But Survivor 2 was only granted use of the site on very strict terms, including protection of local flora and fauna as well as guarantees of waste cleanup. As Survivor competitor Colby Donaldson showed when he illegally picked up pieces of coral, such guarantees were sometimes dishonored, however unintentionally.

But bigger trouble began brewing for the show in 2001 in Kenya when a local land trust complained that vegetation and animals living in that country’s Shaba National Reserve – where that season was being filmed – were being disrupted by all the production-related activities. “The presence of more than 200 workers and the heavy commercial trucks busy supplying provisions and other operations in the reserve has scared away all the animals,” said a press release by Kenya’s Waso Trust Land Project. The story was carried in newspapers around the world, bruising the show’s otherwise spotless environmental reputation.

Since then, though, perhaps because of the flap, Survivor has been a more responsible environmental actor with each successive season, often garnering accolades from local governments monitoring operations. Authorities in Thailand were skeptical about hosting American productions after crew from the film, The Beach, were charged with damaging one of the country’s most pristine national parks in 2000. But they were pleasantly surprised after Survivor’s producers displayed great environmental sensitivity when taping the show’s fifth season there. More recently, the government of Palau, where the series was set in 2004, reported that it found “no significant environmental impact [or] damage” from hosting Survivor.

Despite the show’s recent good track record during filming, some environmental groups are now concerned that Survivor’s popularity may well cause some of the pristine and far-flung locales where it is filmed to become overrun with tourism. In fact, the Palau Conservation Society has had to redouble efforts to manage tourism growth which has spiked since the island nation began hosting Survivor.

CONTACTS: CBS Survivor Website,; Waso Trust Land Project, e-mail:; Palau Conservation Society,

Dear EarthTalk: What are religious leaders and organizations doing to communicate the importance of safeguarding our natural environment?

Peter Toot, Taos, NM

Perhaps it’s not surprising that those who care for God’s creation take environmental issues seriously. But only in recent years have Sunday sermons and other religious services put green topics front and center.

Much of the credit for increases in such “faith-based” environmentalism can go to the National Religious Partnership for the Environment (NRPE), which was founded in 1993 to “weave the mission of care for God’s creation across all areas of organized religion.” NRPE has forged relationships with a diverse group of religious organizations, including the U.S. Catholic Conference, the National Council of Churches of Christ, the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life, and the Evangelical Environmental Network.

These organizations work with NRPE to develop environmental programs that mesh with their own varied spiritual teachings. For instance, some 135,000 congregations--counting Catholic parishes, synagogues, Protestant and Eastern Orthodox churches and evangelic congregations – have been provided with resource kits on environmental issues, including sermons for clergy, lesson plans for Sunday school teachers, and even conservation tips for church and synagogue building managers.

Even Evangelical Christians, known for their conservative take on most issues, are going green. The Colorado-based National Association of Evangelicals is urging its 30 million members to pursue a “biblically balanced agenda” to protect the environment alongside fighting poverty. Indeed, it was Evangelical minister, Reverend Jim Ball, who started the influential “What Would Jesus Drive?” campaign promoting hybrid cars back in 2003. More recently Ball has worked with likeminded Evangelicals to craft a faith-based policy statement on global warming.

Another key organization is the Forum on Religion and Ecology, which holds conferences that bring religious leaders together from all over the world to discuss religion‚s role in ecological matters.

Earth Ministry, an association of 90 churches around Seattle, takes a more “hands-on” approach. It organizes hikes, book parties, and volunteer support for local agricultural projects, helping to educate thousands of people along the way. Some congregations also conduct church “greenings,” like replacing church light bulbs with energy-saving compact fluorescents and virgin copier paper with recycled paper.

Some more hard-hitting environmental actions have sprung up at the congregation level as well. In Mississippi, Jesus People Against Pollution brought together local churchgoers to pressure authorities to clean-up local toxic waste sites. And in Detroit, the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart turned a former crack house into a community vegetable garden. Meanwhile, New York‚s Hamburg Presbyterian Church “adopted” a nearby creek and won it designation as a protected habitat. And just like good environmentalists everywhere, Hamburg Presbyterian’s parishioners continue to monitor the creek to ensure that it remains vibrant and healthy.

CONTACTS: National Religious Partnership for the Environment (NRPE),; Earth Ministry,; National Association of Evangelicals,

GOT AN ENVIRONMENTAL QUESTION? Send it to: EarthTalk, c/o E/The Environmental Magazine, P.O. Box 5098, Westport, CT 06881; submit it at:, or e-mail: Read past columns at:

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